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City & Country: A Pearl on KL’s skyline

A short distance away from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and Pavilion KL shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is the latest addition to the high-end condominium market ­— The Pearl. Once completed in 2011, it will stand 41 storeys high, with views of either the Twin Towers or the green knolls of the Royal Selangor Golf Club. What makes this project different from the others is that its standard units start from 3,109 sq ft. “It is like a bungalow in the sky,” says Siti Mariam Mohd Desa, the spokesperson for The Pearl.

Due to the competitive nature of the market, The Pearl’s developer, Flora Bliss Property Development Sdn Bhd, a musyarakah partnership by Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd (KFHMB) and Bank Rakyat, decided to go big when it came to the size of the units.
The interior of The Pearl's show unit. Photo by Patrick Goh
“There is a risk with big units, whether they can sell or not, but the management had the foresight to be different from the other developments in the market,” says Siti Mariam. That difference has attracted interested buyers from China and India. About 60% of the units have been taken up to date.

KFHMB bought The Pearl for RM550 million in 2008, via Flora Bliss Development from project developer Ceramic Home Tiles Sdn Bhd (CHT).

The finance entity has been actively involved in the KL real estate market in projects such as Pavilion KL, The Oval KL and Glomac Tower KL.

The project manager for The Pearl is Domain Resources Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malton Bhd. The 41-storey tower sits on 1.7 acres of freehold land along Jalan Stonor and comprises 178 units, seven of which are duplexes, and four penthouses. The duplexes  range in size from 5,640 sq ft to 7,210 sq ft while the penthouses measure between 7,955 sq ft and 11,087 sq ft. The units start from RM2.5 million or RM900 psf.

Yield-wise, the conservative figure is 6% says Siti Mariam. The estimated gross development value (GDV) is RM793 million. The contractor is Beijing Urban Constructions, which built the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Olympics in Beijing. Currently, the tower is inching past the 37th floor.

Each floor of The Pearl has only six units. Facilities include a 38m infinity pool, a sky lounge, and library among others. A three-tier security system will be used  to ensure safety.

Over the Wesak Day weekend on May 28, the developer left for a two-week roadshow on The Pearl in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Tracey Lai, director of sales and marketing of The Pearl, says the objective is to explain further the features of the development to interested parties who have heard of it through property agents in those countries. Besides that, Lai also hopes to use the trip to gauge the feedback of their overseas clientele for current and future Malaysian projects.

Is the market ready for more condos in the KLCC area?

Terence Yap, Zerin Properties’ head of private wealth real estate, says, “The general market in KLCC is still soft but we do see an increase in transactions recently. Selected developments,such as Hampshire Residences, Pavilion Residences and St Mary Residences, are very sought after.”

He foresees KLCC condo values and prices increasing marginally this year in select developments after a dip following the global financial crisis. “We know some developments were planned at RM1,800 psf and due for launching this year. The only one that can breach RM2,000 psf currently is Binjai on the Park,” Yap says.

 

 

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 808, May 31-Jun 6, 2010.

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